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Michael Shackleford interview part 3 - Gaming consultancy

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You have run a successful gaming consultancy business for some years now. Your clients are well known and respected gaming companies from both the land-based and online casino industry. For example, you've worked with the land-based casino MGM Grand, the game developer Shuffle Master Gaming and the online gaming companies Boss Media and Playtech.

Q: Which consultancy services does your company offer? Which of these services would you label as your core business, and which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

A: The thrust of my consulting business is casino game design. If you can come up with the basic idea for a game I can calculate the math and fine tune the rules to make it as good as possible. This includes both table games and slot machines.


Q: On your company website, you have written a "letter to the inexperienced game developer" warning them about the risks involved with marketing a new casino game (http://www.gamingmath.com/new-games.html). In this article you estimate that 99% of all new casino games are unsuccessful for various reasons. Could you give us a few examples of casino games that belong to the lucky 1% that were successfully introduced in land-based and/or online casinos recently? Why were these games successful and were you involved in any of them as a consultant or game developer?

A: Examples of the other one percent are Caribbean Stud Poker, Let it Ride, Spanish 21, but especially Three Card Poker. For each one of these there are hundreds of games that never got off the ground financially.

No, I was not involved in any of these. All of them were already out there when by the time I entered the arena in 1999. This also explains a major reason for their success, these games were introduced before everyone and their brother was trying to market their own casino game, so there was less competition.


Q: Your company provides a "Certified Fair Gaming" seal to selected online casinos. What are the requirements for an online casino to be awarded this seal? Have you ever refused to give the seal to a casino?

A: First, I only even enter talks with a company that I feel is legitimate. The requirement to be awarded the seal is that they share their log files with me so that I may perform statistical tests to ensure the games are fair and determine the return percentages. I have declined this service to many casinos that I thought were of questionable integrity. Also, I am phasing out of this service and am accepting no new clients.


Q: How do you envision the future of your company? Do you have plans to develop new (consultancy) services and/or products?

A: I would like to spend more time writing, public speaking, adding to my web site, and actual gambling. The consulting is more of a necessity to make up for an income gap.

This interview continues with Part 4 - Poker.

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